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Progress continues on Ottertail bike path

As people flock to the Ottertail area for the beautiful lakes and summer weather, many are eagerly awaiting the construction of the city's walking and biking path.

Chris McConn, with Interstate Engineering, was present at the June 7 Ottertail City Council meeting to update the city on the progress with the path. McConn brought with him copies of the bidding documents and drawings. He noted that the state has officially given approval for Ottertail to go ahead and bid the project.

June 28 has been set as the deadline for project bids. The notice of call for bids details the specifications for the construction of a multi-purpose trail, aggregate base, bituminous pavement and turf shoulders.

In order to get the project started as quickly as possible, a motion was approved to move next month's regular council meeting to 7 a.m. on Tuesday, July 3. Councilmembers will review the bids at that meeting. As soon as the bid is awarded and the necessary paperwork is approved, work on the project can begin.

Once completed, the 1.7-mile bike path will connect the "old town" part of Ottertail to the stretch of the city located along Highway 78. The path will be located on the right-of-way of the highway. It will be limited strictly to non-motorized use, primarily for walkers, runners, bicyclists and inline skaters.

In addition to providing a safe environment for its users, the creation of the path will promote a healthy, active lifestyle for area residents.

City clerk/treasurer Elaine Hanson provided members of the council with an update on the city's newsletter and website. These two promotional initiatives have been funded largely by the city's share of the lodging tax. Over the past year, the city's 5 percent share of the tax has netted approximately $1,800.

Costs for the website and newsletter totaled approximately $2,000 over the same time period. As a result of the income from the lodging tax, these two promotional projects were almost completely paid for. Hanson noted how both the website and the newsletter have been a great help in keeping citizens updated about what is going on in the city.

In her report on the Ottertail Trade Show held in May, Hanson mentioned that five residents signed up for the MIR3 emergency alert system.

"It may take a little time to get the word out there but once it is up and running, I'm sure people will see the advantages," Hanson summarized.

The MIR3 page is now finished and registrations may be done online. City staff members are in the process of learning how to navigate the administrative site and set up groups. They will soon start testing different elements of the system.

It also appears Ottertail residents are having success cleaning up their properties and getting rid of unwanted items. Councilmember Terry Wagenman said this year's citywide clean-up days went very well.

"We even had 10 loads less than a year ago," he commented.